International Support Vessel Owners Association​

COVID-19 - Issues for the OSV Sector​

The Covid-19 global pandemic has brought profound challenges for the maritime sector in general, and OSV owners and operators in particular.

Industry associations, including ISOA, are taking various steps to highlight to governments the need to ensure that the maritime sector can continue to function effectively, and this certainly applies to the role of offshore support vessels in meeting global energy requirements.

ISOA writes to over 40 governments to stress the importance of key workers in the offshore energy sector

ISOA, together with four other associations representing companies in the offshore energy sector, has written to governments in countries which are engaged in offshore energy production and exploration to highlight the importance of allowing the travel of ship crew and other personnel working in the offshore energy sector to and from their ships and other places of work.

The text of that letter is attached here: 

The letter has so far been sent to over 40 governments, drawing attention to two important recommendations from IMO:

  • Recommendations which set out the action needed to facilitate the movement of ‘key workers’ to and from their places of work on all vessels and installations engaged in offshore energy sector activities.

  • A recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

ISOA will be continuing to put pressure on governments to implement these recommendations so that crew changes on support vessels can take place safely, which is vital for the ongoing health and safety of crew members, and to ensure the continuity of offshore energy supplies.

Other news

IMO Letter to Member States

IMO wrote to all IMO States, the United Nations and UN Agencies, and intergovernmental organisations on 27 March, with recommendations on the facilitation of maritime trade during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The text of that letter is here:

Problems with making Crew Changes

With effective ‘lock down’ in many countries and restrictions on travel, many offshore operators have found it virtually impossible to effect planned crew changes particularly in some of the more remote hubs of offshore operations.

While the short term solution has been to defer changing crews, this cannot continue indefinitely, and crews are entitled to safe repatriation to their home countries for much needed leave, and to reconnect with their families.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Transport Federation (ITF) wrote on 7 April to the G20 Leaders highlighting the critical need for Governments to address the serious problem of facilitating ships’ crew changes. The text of that letter is here:

ISOA is co-operating with other trade associations in the offshore energy sector to find practical solutions to enable rotation of all personnel in the offshore energy sector. This will require not only working with governments to put in place practical solutions for the movement of workers/seafarers but also addressing the lack of scheduled air services to transport the personnel to/from their countries of domicile.

Companies impacted by similar problems are welcome to contact us at

Information note on maritime labour issues and coronavirus (COVID-19)

The International Labour Organization (ILO), which is concerned with the welfare of seafarers globally,  has issued a guidance document on how best to address the complexities of the current crisis in light of the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. The information note is here:


Other Information Sources


  • International Group of P and I Clubs


Online dashboard to provide information on port and country specific COVID-19 restrictions.  This interactive tool is intended to allow industry to identify commercial risks and physical threats to shipping around the world and provide live updates as to the number of confirmed cases of the virus, countries at risk and what to look out for:

  • International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)


A link to various sources of port specific information:

  • International Association of Classification Societies (IACS)

This covers various issues associated with class surveys etc.

© 2020 by ISOA